First developed back in the middle of the 1800s, reinforced concrete is now one of the most utilized building materials in the construction industry. If a project involves the construction of a structure that needs to endure a considerably high amount of stress, then there’s very little doubt about whether reinforced concrete is going to be used.
What exactly is reinforced concrete anyway? Simply put, it is concrete that has been combined with tough materials (most commonly steel) in order for it to be able to withstand a lot of tension and force. The most common way to reinforce concrete is with the use of rebar, which can be manipulated using the appropriate rebar cutters or benders in order to suit the shapes and dimensions of various structures.
The benefits of using reinforced concrete come from both its concrete and steel portions:
High Compressive Stress
The compressive stress of a material measures its ability to resist in reduction in size due to the force exerted by a load. To put it in simpler terms, it measures how well a material resists compression when a heavy load is exerted on it.
Concrete by itself bears the brunt of any force applied to the structure and it has a compressive stress measuring around 4,000 psi, which is very high.
High Tensile Stress
In short, tensile stress is the maximum amount of tension a material can withstand before breaking or suffering a permanent deformation such as a tear. Steel has very high tensile stress, especially carbon steel which boasts a very impressive value: 841 megapascals. Hence it is only logical that concrete which has been reinforced with carbon steel rebar will be able to resist incredible amounts of tension without undergoing any form of deformation.
Concrete is resistant to fire for two simple reasons: firstly, the constituents of concrete, which are limestone, clay and gypsum, are unreactive chemical and therefore aren’t combustible. Secondly, concrete does not transfer heat and therefore plays no part in spreading it.
Similarly, stainless steel rebar is also resistant to the extreme temperatures caused by fire.
Hence if you are planning to build a house or a building in an area that’s sometimes prone to forest fires and such, it is extremely advisable that you construct the structure out of reinforced concrete.
There’s a reason that steel is consistently the most popular choice for framing buildings for more than a century now- it’s extremely durable. Furthermore, of the many variants of it, stainless steel is by far the most durable and therefore is the type of rebar we’d recommend if you want the structure you’re building to be especially resistant to corrosion and weathering.
Since concrete by itself is also very durable, generally have a lifespan of more than 100 years, reinforced concrete has the potential to make houses and buildings last for a really long time.
In hindsight, you can clearly see why reinforced concrete is such a popular building material for a wide range of construction applications. They’re not only strong but they’re also extremely resilient, as we’ve covered in this article.